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Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, often called 'Guruji' (குருஜீ in Tamil, गुरुजी in Devanagari) by his followers, a Spiritual Leader from South India, is considered as a pioneer in redeeming the Hindu faith and philosophy, which is being grossly misunderstood by people of modern times. His key goal is to promote universal brotherhood, peace and love by internal transformation through the chanting of the Divine Name of God. He advocates Nama Kirtan (singing the holy Name of God), especially chanting of the “Hare Rama” Maha Mantra as the only way to providing material and spiritual upliftment as well as liberation from the mundane worldly existence in this Kali Yuga, as prescribed by Sanatana Dharma in different parts of the Vedas.

He inculcates a spirit of universal acceptance, coupled with intense faith and steadfast devotion on the path the spiritual seeker is treading on.

Birth & Early Life

On the day of Deepavali in 1961 (8 November 1961), (Tamil year: பிலவ, Tamil Month: ஐப்பசி, Tamil star: ஸ்வாதி, Tamil Day: அமாவாஸ்யை), Muralidharan was born to the pious Tamil Brahmin couple, Sri Rajagopala Iyer and Smt. Savitri, in Manjakuppam, a village in Cuddalore, in Tamilnadu, India.

Right from childhood, Muralidharan was always devoted towards God, especially Sri Srinivasa Perumal. He was also interested in attending Bhajans and discourses in temples. Muralidharan deeply desired to become one like the Sadhus who his father often invited home for meals. This virtuous child had an attraction for the ochre robe (the robe usually worn by Hindu ascetic). He used to spend long hours meditating in temples and Adhishtanams (Samadhis) of Mahans. He was an ardent devotee of Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham and never missed an opportunity to have his darshan and serve him.

Preaching & Philosophy

Advaita

Sri Swamiji believes in the philosophy of Non-Dualism or Advaita advocated by Adi Shankara. He advocates that Self-Realization is the ultimate goal of all living-beings. He has expounded many Advaitic scriptures and the Upanishads and the life and works of great Mahans in this lineage. Specifically, he has discoursed at length on Ramana Maharshi’s life and his works like ‘Upadesa Undiyar’, ‘Aksharamanamalai’, ‘Ulladhu Narpathu’ and a few of these are also released as commercial audio CDs and cassettes.

Bhakti

While Sri Swamiji believes in Advaita, it is his strong opinion that one can attain that state only through devotion or Bhakti towards the Lord, especially Prema Bhakti (divine love) towards Sri Krishna and the different forms of Krishna like Panduranga, Guruvayoorappan etc., as Krishna is verily the form of ‘Brahman’. He believes that Srimad Bhagavatam, chief among the Puranas is the key text to Bhakti and by mere reading of that text, one can get closer to Sri Krishna.

He follows the footsteps of the great Mahans who have come in this lineage.

Nama Kirtan

Sri Swamiji believes that Nama Kirtan (singing the name of the Lord) is the easiest way to perform Bhakti and attain liberation in this Kali Yuga. Srimad Bhagavatam and many other scriptures in Sanatana Dharma advocate this as the simplest means to attain the Lord. Scriptures say, “While mental repetition of the Divine Names leads to the good of the individual, chanting the Divine Names loudly purifies the chanter, the listener and the very place where the chanting is done.” In keeping with the Kali Santarana Upanishad, Sri Swamiji advocates the Singing of the Maha Mantra as the only way to overcome the ills of worldly existence and attain divine bliss.

Discourses & Compositions

Sri Swamiji has traveled to most of the cities and villages in Tamil Nadu and throughout India and gives discourses in temples on a variety of topics including the greatness of Sanatana Dharma, Self Realization, Vedanta, glories of Srimad Bhagavatam, Vedas, Upanishads, Guru, Satsang, Bhakti and Namakirtan. The life history of Saints like Sri Adi Sankara, Namdev, Janabai, Tukaram, Ramanuja, Vallabhacharya, Sri Bodendra swamigal, Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Thyagaraja, Azhwars, Sri Yogiramsuratkumar etc. are also included in his discourses. While his discourses glorify the rich culture and tradition of the Vedas and the Vaidika Dharma and Bharata varsha, they are also centered around societal values and practical principles to lead a happy and righteous life, which are relevant to the modern society of today.

In an endeavor to spread the essence of Sanatana Dharma and the path of Bhakti through Nama Kirtan to the masses, Sri Swamiji had been offering daily discourses in Tamil on Raj Network television channels in India. The telecast has reached a large audience and has spread Sri Swamiji’s message among vast populace throughout the country.

Sri Swamiji has composed (and is still composing) kirtans in Tamil language and Sanskrit, that are sweet and simple, brimming with devotion and praising the glories Guru and the Lord. His kirtans preach the way of life, advaitic principles, the greatness of Nama Sankirtan, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bakthi, and the glories of Vrindavan and other holy cities.

His recent compositions includes 'Kali Dharma Undiyar' which is a song in simple Tamil, consisting of 30 verses, that discusses the different paths to attaining God in this Kali Yuga and proves that Nama Sankirtan is the only way apt for this Yuga.

Sri Swamiji is currently giving discourses on the Tamil TV Channel Podhigai on every Thursday at 10:10 pm IST.

Temples

A temple for Sri Srinivasa Perumal and Sri Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi (Sri Swamiji’s deity of Lord Krishna is Premika Varadan and Madhuri Sakhi is the form of Radha) was built by Sri Swamiji in Chennai, India. He has also established a beautiful temple for Sri Kalyana Srinivasa Perumal at Malaipattu, a village near Chennai. The daily activities like 'suprabath' (waking up of the Lord), 'dolotsav' (having the Lord go to bed) etc. are performed righteously. Special days such as Ekadasi, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Sravana Nakshatra and amavasya (new moon day) are also celebrated here in traditional style.

In addition, under the guidance of Sri Swamiji, many Divya Desams in South India have been renovated, rejuvenated and supported.

Organizations

Guruji Sri Muralidhara Swamigal Mission

Established on 16 April 1993, by Sri Swamiji, the mission aims at propagating Bhagavata Dharma and to carry out the spiritual and religious activities as ordained in the Shastras of Sanatana Dharma. An ashram in the peaceful and rustic surroundings outside Chennai, India is also established as a part of the mission’s activities. In addition to spiritual and charitable activities, daily celebrations (Nityotsav) and annual celebration (Brahmotsav) activities for the deity Madhuri Sakhi and Sri Premika Varadan are also carried out. Various festivals like Rama Navami, Gokulashtami, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Guru Purnima etc., are celebrated with grandeur. The Annual Brahmotsav of the deity Madhuri Sakhi sametha Sri Premika Varadan, starting on the Gokulashtami day, consisting of functions like Nandotsavam, Govinda Pattabhishekam, Nikunjotsavam, Radha Kalyanam and other devotional activities is a joyous celebration over 10 days wherein devotees congregate in large numbers and enjoy the Lord’s grace.

Sri Sandheepani Gurukulam

Sri Swamiji believes that protecting Vedas is of paramount importance as this will in turn enable society to get rid of its trials, tribulations and evils, and to this end he directs all his activities and teachings. He also supports the idea that Vedas form the spiritual foundation on which the quest for the Supreme God is based upon and hence they have to be protected. As an ardent believer in Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Mahaswamigal's movement for Veda samrakshana, Sri Swamiji established the Sandeepani Gurukulam Trust in June 1995. The sole intention of this trust is to perpetuate learning of the Vedas, which verily is the life line of India and the essence of Sanatana Dharma. This is accomplished by running Yajurveda and Samaveda Patashalas (schools) in traditional Gurukul style.

The Veda Patashalas (schools) are located in various cities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Currently, more than 100 students from various states are pursuing their vedic education in these patasalas(schools).

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Nama Biksha Kendra

As prescribed by the ancient Sanatana Dharma in the Vedas, Namakirtan is the only way to liberation in kali yuga. Sri Swamiji advocates group chanting of a single Divine Name - The Maha Mantra,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare |
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||
With this view in mind, Sri Swamiji established Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Nama Biksha Kendra on October 20, 1999 at Chennai to propagate the chanting of the Maha Mantra. For the benefit of the human race as a whole, Sri Swamiji had endeavored to establish this centre all over the world. The word Biskha in Sanskrit language means begging. This is a centre begging people to chant the Divine Name (Nama) of Lord for worldly and spiritual welfare. Presently there are more than 350 Nama Biksha centers all over the world. This is a non-commercial movement, which aims at the spiritual welfare of all people. The vision of the movement is to go to far-flung places of the world and perform Nama Sankirtan on the streets, lanes and by-lanes in order to lift people from the trauma of mundane existence. Sri Swamiji believes that Nama Sankirtan should go to people who are unable to come to the place of Nama Sankirtan.

In 2006, under the guidance of Sri Swamiji, the Kendra has also launched a movement called 'Nama Dwaar' (translates from Sanskrit as ‘Through the Divine Name’), which aims at propagation of the Maha Mantra as the universal means of bringing about peace, prosperity and the feeling of universal brotherhood and providing material and spiritual upliftment to humanity at large.

Publications

Madhuramurali is a monthly periodical in Tamil from the mission, which is a spiritual magazine reflecting the ideologies of Sri Swamiji.Sri Swamiji’s discourses on Aksharamanamalai, Upadesa Undiyar, Nama Mahimai, Tiruppavai, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Pamban Swamigal, Sri Tiruvalam Swamigal, and the discouses given by him on Raj Network television on a variety of different topics are available as cassettes and CDs. Books of his Kirtans, ideologies and his discourses on works like Devi Kalotram (a prominent work of Ramana Maharshi) and other topics are also published by the mission.

External links

Other Teachers in this tradition

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Muralidhara Swamiji, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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